On Friday, the Free Software Foundation announced a project to create a replacement extension library for OpenOffice, which will list only those extensions which are free software.
“OpenOffice.org is free software, and an important contribution to the free software community. However, the program offers the user a library of extensions, and some of them are proprietary. Distributing OpenOffice.org in the usual way has the effect of offering users the nonfree extensions too,” said FSF Executive Director Peter Brown.
The FSF asked the OpenOffice.org Community Council to list only free software extensions, or provide a separate listing of just free extensions, but the Council said “no.”
“Therefore, the FSF has launched an effort to assemble a replacement extension library,” the FSF announcement said, “which will list only the extensions that are free. Any OpenOffice.org user will be able to use the new library instead of the usual one just by making a simple configuration change. It will not require any change in the code of OpenOffice.org itself.”
The OpenOffice Community Council responded by saying that they regret “that the FSF was unable to accept our compromise proposals for a more clearly signposted extensions repository. We believe the creation of an alternative repository will cause confusion and will lead to a poorer experience for users.”
The Foundation is looking for volunteers to check the licensing on existing extensions. Once the library is ready, volunteers will be asked to replace proprietary extensions with free ones.
The project’s mailing listing can be found here. The project page on LibrePlanet.org can be found here.